I’ve got a project to complete that I’m really not looking forward to. It’s called something like, “filling in the basement crawl space with gravel, dirt, sand…whatever.”
Do you remember back when I told you about my nifty installation of our sump pump? Well, that installation worked wonderfully. Every time the basement filled with water, I heard the pump go on and off – and on and off. And so on. It was fun to listen to in the beginning, but as time went on, listening to that pump, and connecting the sound of it to the electric bill, became less and less fun of an experience. And today, this very moment, listening to the pump turn on and off is ready to drive me crazy. It stopped raining a week ago and the pump is still working. Albeit it only turns on every hour or so, but it’s got me wondering, “Why in the world do we need to get this water out of the basement so bad?” I mean, I’m not sure if it’s just simple conditioning from what I’ve seen on TV or read on the internet, but really, why do we even have a crawl space? It was there when we moved in, but do we need it?
The answer is no. If we had a much more shallow crawl space, say 3 feet deep instead of 4 1/2, I would never see any water at all. It could rain all it wants to and the basement would never fill. I could keep the entire area covered with my plastic vapor barrier and no one would be the wiser. And the moisture down there would be virtually non-existent. The only problem is – yeah, you guessed it – actually filling in the crawl space. Who’s going to do that? My back truly isn’t looking forward to this one.
I just went downstairs with my pickaxe and shovel, with the intention of moving some of the dirt that was pushed to the middle of the crawl space, back out to cover the footings. I figured that all the material I needed was there. Currently, there’s sort of a moat around the perimeter of the entire area, with the dirt in the middle. Sort of like a donut. I was going to see how much of that moat I could fill in, as to raise the floor level down there.
Here is what the basement looks like if you were standing in the first section, looking into the crawl space. What you see is the vapor barrier with the sump pump underneath. Also, the lump under the vapor barrier is the existing soil.
Moving further into the crawl space, if you look left and then right, here is what you see. I figured I could smooth out those dirt lumps and be done with it.
While I may be able to get away with moving some dirt around in the front section of the basement, there simply ins’t enough material down there to fill in the rear. And that’s where the major issues are. When water enters the crawl space, it sits on top of the plastic, puddling up.
When I lift up and move the plastic over, what I just told you becomes even more evident. There just isn’t enough dirt to make a difference.
I think the plan is going to be something like this – order about 5 yards of pea gravel, or sand, or dirt – whatever is cheaper – and move the material down to the crawl space via 5-gallon buckets. I’m really not quite sure how that would work out over the run of this project, but it’s the only way I can think of right now. We also have a missing cement block that we use to vent the dryer, so I may be able to build some sort of a chute that I can slide gravel or whatever down. We’ll see what happens.